What is the meaning of MKII (Mark II) in the field of Hi-Fi (and not)?

Ford GT40

The meaning of MKII (Mark II in full) will be easy, or at least intuitive, for many. Less obvious are perhaps the history and the field of application of the above mentioned wording. As far as Ricable is concerned, the cables bearing the MKII designation are the HDMI Supreme AI cable and, more recently, the Magnus Power and Speaker cables, both of which feature shielding, and other minor enhancements, in their updated model.

What is the meaning of MKII?

The word Mark, followed by a number, often Roman, is used to indicate the degree of advancement of a model in a given series. So we're not talking about a new model in its own right. Rather, we are referring to what is known in the automotive industry as restyling. Quoting WikipediaMark is a term used to "designate a product within a production line: it indicates the level of progress, the degree of development of a machine, and is therefore a synonym for Model, Type, Version". A clarification: although the MKII "addition" is the most frequent, it is not so rare to also find a third or fourth stage of a product. This will then earn the words MKIII and MKIV.

How did the term MKII come about?

It is not easy to place chronologically the first use of the word Mark (translatable as 'mark', 'sign' or even 'trace'), but one of the first fields of application was certainly the military one. Here it is easy to understand what MKII means. In both the UK and the US, Mark referred to a mark applied to the modification plate of a system, component or machine. This modification plate is a metal plate used to record what modifications have already been made, either directly at the factory or by maintenance personnel. However, the use of Marks as a method of distinguishing the version of a product has become commonplace, and is also applicable to products without a modification plate on which to affix a physical mark.

modification plate

United Kingdom vs United States

In British military practice, Mark designations are indicated in Roman numerals. Often these indicate the sub-model of a main variant indicated by the term "Number". Thus we will have the Number 1 rifle, Number 2 rifle and so on to distinguish macro-categories, with Mark designating more specific categories. The end results may sound like this: "Number 1 Mark III", or even "Number 4 Mark II". An exception is the British Railway, which relies on Arabic numerals - the carriages it produces are referred to as Mk1, Mk2 and so on.
TheUS Navy, on the other hand, uses the terms 'Mark' and 'Mod' as a unique method of identifying equipment configurations that otherwise lack military descriptions. The practice was adopted by the Naval Ordnance in 1944 and was formalised in 1978. Since the classification system originates from Naval Ordnance, its use is widespread to describe naval guns and other similar warfare systems.

canon pro meet canon eos 1dx mark iii

The concept: some examples

As we wrote in our short article discovering the meaning of MKII, MKIII and so on, the term became established in the military field. But then it became widespread elsewhere. Remaining in the military sphere, we can mention the Mark I combat tank of the British Army, the Mark II, the US Navy's electromechanical computer; the tragically famous Mark 4 of the United States Air Force, the atomic bomb used to hit Nagasaki; the GMLS Mark 13, a guided missile launch system of the US Navy. There are plenty of examples of this.

However, the Mark wording has also caught on in the field of cars and transport. One thinks of the Ford GT40 series, up to the MKIV model, and some Toyota cars, such as the MR2 (up to MKIII), but also of a less conventional vehicle such as the monorail at Walt Disney World in Florida. Finally, the Mark is also found in photography (the Canon EOS-1D SLR) and electronics (with some BMW navigation systems and IBM computers).

And the significance in the field of audio and Hi-Fi?

Mark also appears mainly in the audio and music field - because otherwise we would not be talking about it here. The word Mark is not only used for restyling electronics, but also for musical instruments, such as Rhodes pianos, Selmer saxophones and Mesa Boogie guitar amps. Also Ricable has some "MKII" products in its catalogue; but that's not all, because we will soon release the MKII version of the Speaker Primus Speaker cable, while a new Dedalus will fill the gap between the "old" Dedalus and theInvictus Speaker Reference. In this case it will not be a revision but a real new model. More news is coming soon. In the meantime, have a look at our current catalogue!

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